The last four weeks produced so much optimism for the William Chrisman football team.

The last four weeks produced so much optimism for the William Chrisman football team.

After steadily improving through the season’s first five weeks, the Bears finally snapped a 17-game losing streak in week six against Belton. Then they closed the regular season with two consecutive victories over Truman and Oak Park.

But the positive vibes dissipated on Thursday night at Ted Chittwood Stadium in Raytown as Chrisman took a Class 5 District 7 defeat that felt painfully familiar.

Raytown downed the Bears 38-12 to end Chrisman’s season for the third consecutive year and drop coach John Crutcher’s record to 0-4 against the Blue Jays.

“Same place, same thing, same result,” said Crutcher, whose team fell to Raytown in the final game in districts in 2010, which kept the Bears from advancing to the playoffs, and again last season to close an 0-10 campaign.

Offensively, the Bears (3-7) stagnated in the first half, starting with five consecutive three-and-outs. They didn’t pick up a first down until the final two minutes of the second quarter when Kreig Jarnagin broke off a 16-yard run.

Meanwhile, Raytown (5-5) built a 14-0 lead as Nate Dixon streaked for a 51-yard scoring sprint and Josh Drake added a 2-yard plunge.

Dixon, who racked 270 yards on 25 carries and tallied three TDs, pushed the margin to 21-0 on the opening drive of the third quarter with a 20-yard dash.

The Jays repeatedly gouged the Bear defense for big plays, manufacturing seven plays of at least 20 yards and four runs of 35 or more.

“It’s a lot of want to,” Crutcher said. “It kills you. We’ll get them stopped where we have third-and-six, third-and-seven, and then boom – they’ll break off a run and it just kills you. It kills your morale, kills your confidence, kills everything.”

Chrisman finally garnered some offensive steam on the ensuing possession as Dalvin Wilkerson hauled in a 46-yard pass from quarterback Dylan Cole. Wilkerson capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to close within 21-6.

The Bear defense stalled Raytown’s following drive at the Chrisman 23, but Aaron Spradley booted a 40-yard field goal with 6:40 left in the third to make it 24-6.

On Chrisman’s next play from scrimmage, Cole bolted for a 15-yard run but was drilled near the sideline and knocked out of the remainder of the contest. The possession ended with a turnover on downs and Raytown went up 31-6 at the start of the fourth when Joe Straws completed a 9-yard toss to Bryan Saxton.

Two plays later, Chrisman backup quarterback Gannon Ogle threw an interception and Dixon zipped 83 yards for his third touchdown to boost the Jays to a 38-6 lead with 9:23 left.

“It’s hard because we watch film day in and day out and we’re always studying,” said senior defensive lineman Dalton Troutman, “and then we make simple mistakes.”

The Bears did tack on a touchdown in the final three minutes as Ogle completed 4 of 6 passes on Chrisman’s final drive and Wilkerson notched his second score with a 2-yard dive.

But offensively, Chrisman was a shell of what it was in the final four weeks when the Bears averaged 28.5 points per game. Junior receiver Alex Ball, who produced four-touchdown efforts against Belton and Truman, was held to 10 yards on three receptions.

“Raytown’s coaches over there are very skilled in what they do,” Crutcher said. “We’ve already seen them once and they’ve seen us on film. They know what we do. We just didn’t come out and execute.”

The result was a stinging reminder that despite some encouraging signs of progress, the Bears still have plenty of work to do.

“We’ve been talking all year about how we want this so far,” said Wilkerson, a junior who rushed for 40 yards on 14 carries. “Sometimes we act like we don’t want it and sometimes we do. ... We came here ready to go and it just didn’t happen.”